Have you ever noticed how often you can be discussing something with someone else or within a group and be well into the conversation before it comes to light that you aren’t in agreement at all when it seemed as though you were, or possibly not even discussing the same thing at all? For instance what if you were talking about POV and you meant point of view when the other person interpreted it as something completely different.
Professionals in the court system know this is why eye witness testimony can be suspect, but juries which are made up of people who don’t necessarily know the psychology put a lot of weight on eye witness testimony. Where was the eye witness standing, what was this person doing at the time that might have absorbed their focus, what are this person’s prejudices? All of this and more affects your point of view, your perspective of an event.
I still love a visual that someone once used with my son who had been involved in an altercation with a friend. The person held up a magazine between himself and my son. He asked my son to describe what he saw and my son gave a description of the front of the magazine. Then the person gave his own description of the magazine from his point of view, which was of the back of the magazine. They were both describing the same object factually, but the descriptions didn’t jive because each was of an unrelated portion of the whole. This was an aha moment for my son and I was excited to be part of it because I had not ever seen such a concrete and straight forward example of point of view before.
As a person with the writer’s observational viewpoint, I often find that I get clued in to the point when points of view diverge before others in the room. My writer self wants to watch and see what happens and my process self wants to correct the divergence as quickly as possible to prevent wasted energies. My role in the conversation determines my actions. If time is crucial or I am leading the discussion, I will speak up. If there is a chance for a growth opportunity for the participants, then I will often let the divergence play out.
I have always believed in the power of words. It is crucial to choose the right word to describe your thoughts within a situation, to convey your meaning to others in a manner that they will understand. Sometimes words that are devastating to one can just slip off the tongue of another with hardly a thought to the consequences. Vigilance at all times is not possible, but perhaps we should flip the magazine around every once in a while to see what the other person sees.
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